I, Mark Roemer, know that longer days, outside activities, and the ability to spend time grilling with friends and family are all benefits of warmer weather. However, if you’re planning on holding a BBQ at your apartment complex, there are a few guidelines to follow. Is it possible to grill on your balcony? Is it legal to use an electric barbecue in an apartment? What’s the best way to navigate a communal grill? Although the answers may differ according to your state, municipal, and building standards, there are some common apartment grill rules that every renter should follow.
Grilled Food Etiquette Don’ts and Dos
Before you put those burgers and hot dogs on the grill, keep a few unwritten laws in mind. Many apartment grill rules fall into this section – they’re not laws, but they’re still things you should follow to keep your neighbors happy. So, here are some unwritten apartment grill regulations to help you get the most out of your grilling time.
1. Don’t Overindulge in Barbecue
If your apartment complex’s apartment grill policy contains a signup schedule or time limits, abide by them. Even if you own the grill, you shouldn’t dominate it. Finish fast, grilling only what you’ll need for your next supper (not next week!), and then move on. If you see people waiting, see if you can share space with them.
2. Don’t Use the Grill to Host a Get-Together
To begin with, gathering around the grill is not a safe activity. Second, it is boorish. If you bring friends over for a BBQ, have a good time and dine in the appropriate area or in your apartment rather than obstructing a communal grill. Even if you have a grill of your own, keep grilling and partying separately.
3. Do Keep an Eye Out for Smoke
Not the sort that says you’re about to start a fire in the neighborhood (more on that in a bit). To reduce smoke, you may only need to lower the heat or scrape the grate. The reason for watching how much smoke is being produced is that the wind blows smoke into neighbors’ open windows. Keep an eye out for this to happen so you can make the required adjustments. Try using foil instead of putting the food directly on the cooking plates if you’re grilling something that will break apart.
4. Ensure that you clean up after yourself
As soon as you complete cooking, begin cleaning so that the next person may start grilling as quickly as possible. Scrape the cooking grates with a tin foil ball or barbecue brush, then wipe down the entire area with paper towels and an appropriate spray cleaner – think counter space, grill knobs, and the outside of the grill. If raw meat has come into contact with it, it must be thoroughly cleaned. Put everything back where it belongs, and make sure the grill and gas are turned off.
There is another unwritten rule. Don’t start a fire in your house. When grills are permitted, the common expectation is that you will use caution. That is to say:
- There will be no horseplay.
- Keeping an eye on children and dogs to ensure they don’t get too close to the barbecue.
- Staying away from distractions
- A barbecue should never be left unattended.
- There will be no drinking and grilling.
That latter point necessitates additional caution. Sure, beer and grilling go together but reserve the drinks till after you’ve finished cooking. While grilling, drinking can impair your concentration, and you’re more likely to knock something into the grill if you drink at the same time.
Before firing up the grill, make sure you’re aware of any local apartment BBQ laws. Although states and towns also have fire prevention policies, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has rules. Individual buildings and property management firms may also have their own set of restrictions.
Because laws and restrictions differ greatly depending on where you reside, start by looking up your area’s city and state regulations. Then, look over the rules that your landlord or apartment complex has established.
Some locations only allow specific grill sizes or types. If you’re allowed to bring your barbecue, make sure you have enough space on the patio or balcony to move around. Make sure you have enough space between you and branches, combustible railings, and apartment walls.
Here are some more safety suggestions:
- To avoid flare-ups, keep the grill clean.
- Don’t put the grill under eaves or overhanging materials.
- Read the grill’s instruction handbook.
- Have a fire extinguisher and/or a spray bottle on hand at all times.
You’ll also want to have a few specific safety items on hand, such as:
- Tools made of heat-resistant materials, such as stainless steel
- Longer tools that allow you to reach the grill’s back.
- Heat-resistant gloves
Things to Think About When Renting in an Apartment Complex
If you’re using a barbecue in a communal apartment complex, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make a cooking reservation: Many complexes with community grills ask renters to make a grilling reservation. Sign up as needed, come on time, and complete the task on time. Even if no one else appears to be using the grill, don’t think you can walk in without making a reservation. Even if your complex does not require you to arrange your grilling time, you should still come prepared by gathering everything you’ll need before getting started. That way, you can make the most of your grilling time without bothering your neighbors who might want to join in the fun.
- Obey all stated apartment grill rules: Most shared apartment grills have posted apartment grill guidelines. Make sure you follow any posted signs, building websites, and your lease agreement’s instructions.
- Don’t move the shared grill: Your landlord or property manager put it there for a purpose. When you’re not using the grill, make sure it’s in its proper position. That means you should not drag the grill closer to your apartment to get a better TV perspective. Cook your supper, then watch your favorite game or show from a different location.
I, Mark Roemer, know that outdoor barbecues may be a fun way to spend time with friends and family while providing a delicious meal. Keep these apartment grill standards in mind to have a safe and enjoyable grilling experience.